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Member postings for James Alford

Here is a list of all the postings James Alford has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Sharpening Files
15/05/2020 07:17:07
Posted by oldvelo on 15/05/2020 00:45:25:
Posted by John Paton 1 on 14/05/2020 15:57:41:

Interesting stuff re 'sharpening'. Electrolytic with washing soda sounds worth a try as would be handy for controlled de-rusting of car parts too.


Edited By oldvelo on 15/05/2020 01:35:37

This works well. I have used it on a few pieces of an old Austin Seven with success.


14/05/2020 07:25:20

Thank you for all of the suggestions and the experiences. It sounds like it will be worth a try if I get hold of some acid. I might be able to rescue one or two of the less worn files.

i may try and make some scrapers out of the others.


Edited By James Alford on 14/05/2020 07:25:49

13/05/2020 07:57:18

I have a large number of old files, most of which have become blunt with use and abuse. Several of them are very old, having been inherited from my grandad in the early 80s when they were already ancient.

Does anyone know whether soaking them in acid to sharpen them is actually effective? I have seen numerous suggestions to use either white vinegar or battery acid, but nothing that really says whether it is worthwhile.


Thread: Shoe repair glue advice?
18/04/2020 10:08:04

I have always found that bog standard Bostik, the smelly brown stuff, works well for shoe repairs and soles, as long as you let it go tacky before assembling and clamp well for a good, long time.


Thread: SIMAT 101 - Changing the belt?
28/03/2020 09:19:37

I have the predecessor to the SImat, the Flexispeed II. The two machines are pretty much identical, apart from cosmetic details. To change my belt, I had to loosen the grub screw which retains the main pulley and the grub screws on the back gear. The spindle then pulls out so that you can get the old belt out and a new one in. You obviously have to thread all of the parts off and back onto the spindle.

My original belt, which was new and fitted in the V grooves, more or less level with the top of the groove, slipped badly. I replaced it with a much wider one which stands proud of the grove, but grips perfectly. I can measure it if that helps.


Thread: What to use for New Worktop?
24/03/2020 07:13:23

Thank you for the suggestions. In the end, I have used kitchen worktop again. I did consider timber or heavy boards with a replaceable top of lino or the like, but wanted to avoid any raised edges on the worktop. I had that last time and detritus kept getting caught in it. The alternative would have been to lay it under the vice et al, needing them to be removed to replace the top.

Cost and the ease of getting material in the current circumstances was another consideratio. I really want to get the job finished sooner, rather than later. The nearest place where I can get reclaimed boards and the like is a fair way of and I would need to arrange transport.



Edited By James Alford on 24/03/2020 07:16:13

21/03/2020 09:06:07

Thank you fo rall of the suggestions and idea. I shall have a good think and see what I can get, especially with the current restrictions.

I would rather avoid anything which needs to be replaced periodically. There will be a vice or two, a grinder, belt sander, bench drill and Dremel drill stand bolted down on it and I do not relish rmoving them each time. Metal topping sounds interesting, as does treated MDF.



20/03/2020 07:06:43

I am currently fitting out a new garage workshop and wonder what other people use for the workbench top.

Previously, I have used kitchen worktop, but I wonder whether there is anything which is preferable, affordable and readily available.

I shall be using the bench for general car repair work, woodwork, light model engineering and the 1001 odd jobs that can never really be categorised. It needs to be oil, solvent and water resistant.




Edited By James Alford on 20/03/2020 07:07:24

Thread: Speedometer Ratios
05/03/2020 21:56:33

Thank you for all of the suggestions and information, which will be a great help. Knowing that the speedometer is 800 tpm is useful. I shall have a look at the various websites which have been suggested and see whether I can find a device with a known number of revolutions per minute with which to test it.


05/03/2020 07:26:07

I have the attached speedometer which I wish to use on an Austin Seven. I do not know what vehicle it is from.

The Austin speedometer does 1040 turns per mile, but I am not sure what this new speedometer's turns per mile are. I suspect that it is 800, but I am not sure. Can anyone clarify what the small numbers near the oddometer mean? I can then work out what gearing I would need to put into a small ratio adapter gearbox or perhaps print a new dial face.

For clarity, the numbers are SN3253/07 and 800. It is 3" od if that helps at all.

Thank you.




Edited By James Alford on 05/03/2020 07:28:21

Edited By James Alford on 05/03/2020 07:28:38

Thread: What sort of things inspire you?
22/02/2020 09:20:17

The type of things which inspire and fascinate me are machines which are unnecessarily complicated and ridiculously elaborate, yet do very little: the type of contraptions from Heath Robinson and Emmett.

There was such a machine shown on Playschool once thorough the "round" window in the late 60s. I cannot remember what it was, but it left a lasting impression of flailing arms,cogs and wheels achieving very little, just because it could.


Edited By James Alford on 22/02/2020 09:22:44

Thread: bsa bantam transfers
07/02/2020 07:14:55

I have always had good service and quality spares for my BSA from C&D Autos in Birmingham and from Lightening Spares. They may be worth a try if you have not already done so.


Thread: Robot Wars
23/01/2020 07:14:33

The series like this which I used to enjoy was Techongames. It was a sort of mechanised Olympics, with machines designed to swim, climb ropes, kick balls and a host of other sports. I did build a prototype swimming machine to enter, but the series ended before I was ready.


Edited By James Alford on 23/01/2020 07:26:07

Thread: Punching holes in metals
02/01/2020 22:06:27

I have done some punching out of copper sheet: it is not a nice metal for this. The metal tears, rather than shears, unless the punch and die are well-matched and receive a sharp, heavy blow to operate them. Even then, using professionally made dies in a fly-press, I still encountered tearing.


Thread: Opening a Port
31/12/2019 09:04:53


It may be worth having a chat with Ian at Oxfordshire Sevens **LINK**. I know that he has been rebuilding and tuning a fair few Austin Seven engines of late and testing them on a dynamometer. He has also built a few successful racing Seven engines. He may be able to give you some suggestions.



Thread: Carriage Locks
25/11/2019 21:11:57

Thank you for the helpful replies. I had done something similar to Ian's suggestion, having fitted a slightly larger head to the central carriage gib screw and cut a slot in the head for a screwdriver. I did have one with a lever, but there is so little clearance that it fouled the cross-slide. I shall have a look to see whether there is room for an extra screw so that I do not disturb the adjustment of the gib itself.



24/11/2019 09:24:42

I know that this is probably a silly question, but how do carriage locks work? I recently tried milling with a vertical slide on my Flexispeed. My initial attempts with terrible, with everything wobbly about. However, after tightening all of the gibs fully to lock the cross-slide and carriage, things were vastly better.

When I get the lathe back out of storage, I should like to add something to make locking the slides easier and should be interested in what other lathes use.


Thread: Ornamental Turning
17/11/2019 17:30:19

Thank you for all of the book suggestions and the links, which I shall look at. I had done some searching already, but mostly found references to purpose-built machines, rather than modifications for a standard lathe. The Tubal Cain book sounds particulalry promising.


17/11/2019 08:39:57

I am asking purely out of curiosity as I do not envisage ever doing any ornamental turning: is it possible to make an attachment to use on a standard lathe so that it can do ornamental turning? I am thinking more of the engine turning and jewelling than the finish with overlapping burnished circles.


Thread: Flxispeed Meteor II - Centre Height in Gap
06/11/2019 06:54:47
Posted by peak4 on 04/11/2019 23:50:54:
Posted by James Alford on 04/11/2019 22:22:08:

Does anyone know when the Meteor II was discontinued? From the website it suggests that it was in the mid 70s, but I am not sure.


Not sure James, but the receipt for my Simat is dated 1982 (£95)


Thank you.


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